Marketers understand the need to develop a buyer persona to analyze and predict behaviors, but it can be challenging. Consumers face a daily onslaught of content, requiring businesses to find ways of creatively connecting the dots between marketing strategy and buying behavior. So, knowing what to expect in terms of consumer behavior shifts in 2017 can help you prepare your business to meet customer demands through adjustments in marketing strategy.
- Passion. Though bombarded with content, consumers have learned how to spot authenticity among all the noise. A brand’s purpose and mission is important to them. “It’s very cool to care right now,” according to Leslie Ghize, executive vice president for a consumer culture think tank, adding that celebrity involvement is amplifying the effect. “It matters to the consumer that it matters to you.”
Concern for the environment, including climate change, have become important issues for consumers. Buying patterns have begun to reflect consumers’ interest in being environmentally aware and responsible. The trend is expected to continue and grow as we move into 2017, making it important to reflect your brand’s commitment to the environment in marketing and promotional activities.
- Desire for relaxation. As consumers, we are over-stimulated and over-scheduled. Our need to de-stress and relax has become an important driver of our behavior. Apps that help us organize and take care of routine errands like shipping packages or picking up the dry cleaning have become popular.
One trend to look for in 2017 is the notion of “slow shopping.” Instead of trying to speed consumers through the shopping process, some retailers are embracing the idea of encouraging shoppers to linger in the store, testing products and enjoying the experience, rather than approaching shopping as just another chore. Origins skincare brand has installed sinks in their stores and encourages customers to try out products so they can discover which scent they like or how a product feels on their skin. Other retailers are reducing the space allotted to display products for an enhanced consumer experience, with libraries and comfortable seating, to encourage customers to stay longer.
- Reliance on technology. Expect consumers to increase their reliance on smartphones in 2017. As shoppers have come to expect coupons, loyalty programs, and other types of promotions on their smartphones, brands will need to incorporate these strategies into their marketing plan.
Consumers have come to rely heavily on technology for getting everyday tasks accomplished. Gone are the days of calling the movie theater for showtimes or dialing 411 to find a number. Most people pay their bills online, keep in touch with friends electronically, and store their photos on their smartphone or computer. On average, we spend seven hours a day on a screen, whether it be a smartphone, tablet, computer or tv, which has become an integral part of our lives and will only increase over time. Second and third screens are changing TV viewing and consumer behavior as they have immediate access to information they’ve just learned or something they are interested in.
At the same time, our reliance on technology has fueled the popularity of a phenomenon known as “modern retro.” The sense of nostalgia provides an immediate connection with the consumer, and it’s a trend that’s expected to continue in 2017. The idea is to get the consumer to say “I remember that.” The TV series Mad Men, for example, spawned an explosion of retro-style furniture and fashion designs.
- Enable and empower consumers. Consumer control will continue to be a driving force in 2017. People are increasingly relying on user-generated content for information. That means brands must make a shift, as well, by finding ways to enable and empower consumers. Whether it’s finding work, taking charge of their healthcare, or managing their finances, consumers are demanding more control.
This means companies must meet those consumer demands with relevant promotions to drive engagement. This can be done by utilizing promotions and content in your advertising to engage customers in different ways. An example of this would be if a company promoted a contest in their TV advertisements where the consumer can post pictures to their social media channels with a designated hashtag for a chance to win. This would enable the consumer to have control of what they are sharing about your brand, while the company is getting promoted in a ‘word-of-mouth’ style which has the opportunity to influence people that follow them on social media in an indirect way, where the business is not direct selling.
- Growth in online video. Expect video to continue to dominate when it comes to driving internet traffic, in 2017 and beyond. It’s estimated that half of millennials will stop what they’re doing to watch a new video posted by a favorite creator. Consumers are often looking for answers which are credible and reliable. Video is a great way for companies to share a message in a transparent way that reaches their target audience. It’s estimated that 100 million internet users watch online video each day. This could be on demand segments of news from their local TV station, tutorial and DIY videos, or the latest cat videos.
For 2017, consumer behavior shift predictions can be tricky, but by focusing on the growing trends of the past years and what’s predicted for future years, companies can find ways to break through the content clutter and connect with consumers in a way that engages and empowers them, while driving sales and generating loyalty. Make adjustments in your marketing strategy to leverage trending behavioral shifts for a successful and profitable 2017.